New Semester and New Narratives!

So, after a lovely long Christmas break, and now that we have all caught up on some much needed sleep , we are back at University and set to work straight away.

We were put into new groups, i am now with Daniel, Jordan and Mark and each group was given a film. We got the 1988 film Rain Man, starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman,  which i had never seen until about a half hour ago.



Plot-taken from Wikipedia

Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), a Los Angeles car dealer in his mid-twenties, is in the middle of importing four grey market Lamborghinis. The deal is being threatened by the EPA, and if Charlie cannot meet its requirements he will lose a significant amount of money. After some quick subterfuge with an employee, Charlie leaves for a weekend trip to Palm Springs with his girlfriend, Susanna (Valeria Golino).

Charlie’s trip is cancelled by news that his estranged father, Sanford Babbitt, has died. Charlie travels to Cincinnati, Ohio, to settle the estate, where he learns an undisclosed trustee is inheriting $3 million on behalf of an unnamed beneficiary, while all he is to receive is a classic 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible he and his father once fought over, and several prize rose bushes. Eventually he learns the money is being directed to amental institution, which is the home of his brother, Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman), of whose existence Charlie was previously unaware. This leads Charlie to ask the question that permeates the movie: “Why didn’t somebody tell me I had a brother?”

Raymond has autism, and one of the manifestations of his condition is his superb recall, albeit usually with little understanding of the subject matter. He is also a mental calculator with the ability to instantly count hundreds of objects at once, far beyond the normal range of human subitizingabilities. He is frightened by change and adheres to strict routines (for example, his continual repetition of the “Who’s on First?” sketch). Except when he is in distress, he shows little emotional expression and avoids eye contact. Numbed by learning that he has a brother and determined to get what he believes is his fair share of the Babbitt estate, Charlie takes Raymond on what becomes a cross-country car trip (due to Raymond’s fear of flying) back to Los Angeles to meet with his attorneys. Charlie intends to start a custody battle in order to get Raymond’s doctor, Dr. Gerald R. Bruner (Jerry Molen), to settle out of court for half of Sanford Babbitt’s estate so that the mental institution can maintain custody of Raymond. Susanna, disgusted by Charlie’s self-centeredness and his attempts at using his brother as a pawn to gain the money, leaves Charlie in Cincinnati and disappears.

During the course of the journey, Charlie learns about Raymond’s autism, which he initially believes is not authentic – resulting in his frequent frustration with his brother’s antics. He also learns about how his brother came to be separated from his family, as a result of an accident when he was left alone with Charlie when Charlie was a baby. Raymond also sings “I Saw Her Standing There” by The Beatles like he did when Charlie was young, prompting Charlie to realize that Raymond is the protective figure from his childhood, whom he falsely remembered as an imaginary friend named “Rain Man”, which was a mispronunciation of “Raymond”. Charlie proves to be sometimes shallow and exploitative, as when he learns that Raymond has an excellent memory and takes him to Las Vegas to win money at blackjack by counting cards. However, toward the end of their trip Charlie finds himself becoming protective of Raymond, and grows to love him truly.

Charlie meets with Dr. Bruner, who is also a friend of Charlie’s father and is left in charge of that money and Raymond, who offers him money as he originally wanted, but Charlie has decided he no longer cares about the money and really just wants to have custody of his brother. However, at a meeting with a court-appointed psychiatrist and Dr. Bruner, Raymond is shown to be unable to decide exactly what he wants. Eventually, the psychiatrist presses Raymond to make the decision, upsetting him and leading Charlie to request that the doctor back off. Realizing Raymond needs more care than he can necessarily provide, he acquiesces but wants to be able to visit his brother in the future. Charlie, who has gained a new brother and mellowed considerably, promises Raymond as he boards an Amtrak train that he will visit in two weeks.

The films end is heartwarming and quite light, for being such a serious film at the best of times. I genuinely did enjoy this film, i personally thought it was some of Hoffman’s best acting.

Now, over the next six weeks, we as a group will be analyzing this film until we are ‘rain man ninjas’. We will look at each character and make a timeline showing how they felt throughout the film, even when we don’t see them in the film.

An easier way to explain what we have to do is imagine we are writing a game for this film and we have to be able to play as each character, if we want to play as Charlies girlfriend we are going to have to know what she is doing when she isn’t on screen, is she working? Is she crying thinking they have broken up? What makes her go to Vegas to see Charlie? etc. We need to work this out for each character in great detail and we will also be desiging a graphic for the film by the end of the six weeks, to help all of us understand this better, we will be reading a book by Christopher Vogler called ‘The Writers Journey: Mythic Structures for Writers’.


I am looking forward to this project, my only fear is despising the film by the end of the six weeks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s